Production in China has been shattered by the US and Supermicro company. Its production lines should be compromised by Chinese agents. As a result, the motherboards should have tracking chips that traveled to Apple, Amazon, and more.

The world is now shaking a huge security issue, a hardware hack of unprecedented proportions. The report was published by Bloomberg, a result of several years of investigation. Its essence is that a large number of the most important servers in the US, including those at high government levels, should be infected with small tracking chips in China during their production. Everything started to come in between 2014 and 2015. For example, Amazon wanted to buy Elemental Technologies, which produced video file compression software, making Amazon fit for its Amazon Prime Video. But that was not all. Elemental products were also used at government level, for example, to communicate with ISS or to transfer image data from CIA drones.

Amazon hired the company to evaluate the safety of Elemental’s products, starting with the video compression servers that Elemental produced for Supermicro. This company is headquartered in the US and its main products are server motherboards (one of the world’s largest motherboard makers) servers also equipped with them. A thorough examination of the motherboards revealed an extremely small chip of millimeter size, but there was nothing to do with the documentation. Some mystery appeared on the base plates produced, even though there were no documents that would direct and explain it.

The problem was in the motherboard manufacturer. Although it is officially made by Supermicro, as is customary, products are not produced in the US in their own factories, but production usually takes place in Asia, in this case in Taiwan and China. Chinese manufacturers like China, like Apple, do not make Apple, but one of its manufacturers is Foxconn. These factories have been compromised, and the Chinese army has deployed agents to ensure that these mysterious chips are added to the Supermicro motherboards.

And it certainly is not harmless. They are able to communicate with the most important motherboard components that are otherwise used to remotely administer the servers. They were able to drive the CPU and contact remote servers and wait for further instructions. According to Bloomberg, they can even read encryption keys. Some designate Supermicro as Microsoft’s hardware world and attack the Supermicro motherboards as a Windows attack that is essentially affecting the world.

Among the companies that were affected by the report were Amazon (its AWS cloud servers in China) or Apple as well. Apple was supposed to find secret chips in mid-2015, and talks about throwing out all of his 7,000 Supermicro servers within weeks and replacing them with others.

He planned to buy another 30,000 servers over the next two years. Although both of these companies allegedly contacted the US government, they now both deny any infected servers in their network (whether today or in the past). In addition to the aforementioned US government deployment, there was, for example, communication between warships. Supermicro motherboards can be found in banks, cloud services, web hosting servers, and many more. Basically everywhere. And it’s just a question of where infected versions are everywhere.

US intelligence services have been aware of China’s efforts to develop and deploy such chips for some time, but Supermicro’s customers have not warned. Such a statement could seriously harm US society. After the Bloomberg article came out, the company’s stock fell to half. Now it has already risen slightly, but the resulting drop is about 40%. So far, it is very difficult to estimate the impact of the incident and how much the message is true. It is to be expected that much more hardware coming from China will be explored and the pressure to move production back to the US will increase again. In any case, the other allegedly interested parties deny it officially (American companies Amazon, Apple, Supermicro and China), so now it is also a question of where it is actually true.


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